Friday, 28 December 2012

Building the 'NEST'

As some may know, I am part of the Student's Union, under the role of joint Editorial Officer with my co and good friend Kai West. As this position has been filled before but the members have never managed to start up a University publication, it was an exciting and potentially fulfilling opportunity for us to embark and hopefully succeed on.

We have been through two elections and managed to hold our place in the Union, and are currently up for nominations again when we get back in January so hopefully we will be able to retain our place in the Union! During the year that we have had our position, we have set up the magazine from scratch, recruiting and managing an expanding and ever changing team.

In the Student’s Union I have also had the opportunity to contribute in other ways, such as helping organizing events during RAG week and Equality and diversity awareness day, along with attending regular meetings to help create a better and more enjoyable environment for other students.

I am currently undergoing training from the NUS, to help create a better Students' Union for Leeds College of Art.

In the first issue of the magazine we initially struggled with having enough content, so Kai and I helped by creating our own content. I collaborated with Jessie Leong (a photography student) who wrote a few recipes which I then fully illustrated, which can be seen below here. I really enjoyed creating content to a deadline with specific requirements, and I feel I learnt a lot doing it, especially using photoshop and my tablet (which were both new skills for me at the time) mixing that with my more comfortable medium of water colour painting.

Another piece I did for the content of the magazine was the header image for the 'From Anonymoose' section of the magazine which this time was draw in ink and digitally composited together.

Once we had completed our very first issue of 'NEST', Kai and I were so proud of our hard work and thought that we needed to celebrate. So we have held a launch party, which involved event planning and strong organisational skills on my part as unfortunately Kai was extremely busy the weeks running up to the launch. So me and my strong small team got together to organise what we wanted it to be like. As I have been to The White Cloth Gallery before on a general visit, this was my first port of call to try and hire out for our event, with an extremely small budget of £60 for the event we were expecting all of the money to go on the venue. But after meeting with Annie, the events organiser for White Cloth, and discussing potential nights we could hold the event, we came up with one night, and we found out the amazing news that we were able to have the whole space for free as long as we made sure the numbers came! So that was our next task, publicising the event. In the usual Student Union style we made posters to put on all of our notice boards and encouraged word of mouth, as well as Facebook publicity and the creation of a 'Facebook event', which proved popular with the students, indicating that over 100 people were hoping to come. We also invited Leeds art based companies and galleries to attend, as well as opening it to the public and having various posters around town publicising the event. Once we had a solid number of people coming we started to seriously plan out what we were actually going to have at the event! There was one section of the gallery where we were able to have our prints, of some of the main pieces of artwork used as content for the magazine. The second section of the gallery we were able to place tables and have a small 'craft fair' style event where all the members and contributors of our magazine team had the privilege of having a stand if they so wish, and allowed visitors to meet the makers of the magazine. The last section of the gallery is a large room which already had an exhibition on which we were unable to take out, but I feel this added to the event as it looked more professional and integrated the students work with professionals. There was also a large white wall in this room with a projector, allowing us to show students showreels from both DFGA and Vis-com as well as other Leeds based artists, which was a lovely addition to the space. To watch these video's we thought we would go for a 'woodland' theme for this room and made a small cardboard sculpture of Leeds city centre around the main pillar in the room, and all around we scattered branches and picnic blankets with magazines and sweets on, which proved very popular, and at several points in the evening the room was full of viewers sat on every rug possible. Jessie who also wrote the recipes made a few of the rockyroads from her recipe and put these on the picnic rugs too, which tied in quite nicely! In this same room we were lucky enough to have two very talented DJ's performing for the whole night, which really made the whole venue have a really chilled and lovely vibe. Overall the night was a massive success and I couldn't be more proud of the magazine, and what we managed to achieve for the night in such a small space of time and such a low budget. 

We are now in the process of making our second issue and organising the launch of the second issue ready for the end of Jan/beginning of Feb which is really exciting! Long live 'NEST'!!!

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